Health is trending in 2017, and it’s not just for new years resolutions. There are so many people who have told me that conventional medicine has completely failed them. The 7-10 minutes you spend with your doctor and the insurance mandated tests (nothing more – nothing less) leave you frustrated and still sick. I’ve hand picked my top health influencers of 2017. These are individuals who have struggled with and triumphed over their own failing health and have opened up their lives to help others. They are also fighting against conventional wisdom and big corporations. They are fighting for you. Meet these 17 health heroes.
There are so many individuals out there making a difference in the world, it was difficult to narrow this list to only 17. My criteria was to chose influencers who I have a direct connection with or knowledge of. I “know” many of them personally, and the ones who I don’t know, I have been following them and have participated in their programs. I also wanted to pick a diverse group of health causes, and a mixture of big names and up-and-comers. Basically, every single person on this list has the Pink Fortitude stamp of approval. The list is in ABC order.
Razi is one of the biggest sweethearts I ever had a chance to work with. She has a heart of gold and a kind spirit. She walks the talk and practices what she preaches.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review and NaturalPath, has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. Her amazing recovery of Fibromyalgia, infertility, and chronic fatigue led her to create resources to promote the principles of naturopathic medicine so that more people can experience the healing power of nature. A self proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.
Rachel is a survivor of quinolone (antibiotic) toxicity and a fighter. I had the honor of being introduced to her through the Impossible Project.
Rachel Brummert serves as President and Executive Director of the Quinolone Vigilance Foundation. A member of the Board of Directors since April 2012, she guides strategic planning for the organization and acts as its spokesperson. She oversees the implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs, and promotes collaboration with researchers, government agencies, politicians, community groups, and others to further the organization’s mission. Rachel holds a B.S. from Cabrini College in Special Education and Elementary Education, and an M.S. from Rutgers University Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling. She also serves as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter in her community and is an author in the book The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating a New You. As someone who has been personally impacted by quinolone toxicity, she brings a wealth of experience and dedication to this position.
Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD, ABFM, ABIHM, IFMCP
Dr. Carnahan is a fellow cancer/AI warrior – a 15-year survivor of breast cancer and Crohn’s disease and she is passionate about teaching patients how to “live well” and thrive in the midst of complex and chronic illness. She is a functional medicine expert and also specializes in toxic mold and mold exposure.
Dr. Carnahan moved to Boulder Colorado in 2010 joining medical partner, Dr. Robert Rountree. She recently opened her own practice, Flatiron Functional Medicine in Louisville, CO, to offer more services. Dr. Carnahan is board certified in both Family Medicine (2006) and Integrative Holistic Medicine (2005). She founded the Methodist Center for Integrative Medicine in 2009 and worked there as Integrative Medical Director until October 2010. She completed her residency at the University of Illinois Program in Family Medicine at Methodist Medical Center and received her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald, ND, IFMCP
Dr. Fitzgerald is the backbone of Functional Medicine engaging in the highest quality dialogue on the most pressing topics in this space. She is able to help patients around the world through her free podcast, content and her practice. Her current focus is methylation and nutrigenomics, and it is because of hear I learned about methylation and how important it is to my healing.
Dr. Fitzgerald received her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first CNME-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix (now Genova) Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, Ph.D. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Fitzgerald is lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine, a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine’s updated Textbook for Functional Medicine. She has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Fitzgerald is on faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine, and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. She was formerly on faculty at University of Bridgeport in the School of Human Nutrition and the School of Naturopathic Medicine. She is a clinician researcher for The Institute for Therapeutic Discovery. Dr. Fitzgerald regularly lectures internationally for several organizations and is in private practice in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
I had the honor of reviewing the curriculum for the Gluten Free School, and I wish I had all of this information a few years ago. Jennifer not only teaches the logistics of being gluten free, but the emotional aspect which I personally think is the hardest part of the journey.
Jennifer Fugo is the founder of Gluten Free School, a website dedicated to teaching gluten-sensitive individuals simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy. She’s a certified Health Coach named a “Gluten Free Guru” by Philadelphia Magazine who co-hosts the popular “Gluten-Free Sugar Cleanse” to empowers gluten-free folks to take control of their diet, feel great and kick their sugar habit. Jennifer is a sought-after expert about healthy, gluten-free living as well as a speaker who has been featured on Doctor Oz, Yahoo! News, eHow, CNN, Huffington Post and Philadelphia Magazine.
.Gluten Free School is a dedicated teaching gluten-sensitive women simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy. This is the number one spot for those living a gluten free life seeking community, simple & clear information about their condition, and ways to become empowered and finally feel better. Based off of the personal journey of founder Jennifer Fugo, Gluten Free School is more than just about a diet… it’s a revolution!
With a cane in one hand and pill bottles in the other, Jessica has turned the concept of being sick into being fabulous. I am proud to call her friend.
Jessica is a warrior who fights five illnesses daily: bipolar II, polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, psoriasis, and the neuromuscular autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis (MG). This blog, Fashionably ill: The Sick Woman’s Stylist helps people survive chronic illness with style and humor. Fashionably Ill is about helping sick women feel confident despite changes in their appearance. It is inspired by Jessica’s experience surviving MG at 24 (after being given a 50/50 chance of living) and gaining 10 dress sizes in two years. She is also inspired by the cancer survivors in her family. With tips on style, mental health, and advice for loved ones, Fashionably Ill is a community for people of ALL illnesses.
One of her goals is to give more makeovers – Jessica has given makeovers to women with illnesses like cancer, MS, fibromyalgia, and PCOS, among others. She is currently filming a pilot for a makeover TV show–if picked up, the show would allow Jessica to give more makeovers. Fashionably ill also helps people who live with both mental illness and chronic pain diseases. While working in mental health nonprofit, Jessica found a dearth of resources for people with mood disorders who also have physical pain.
Sara Gorman is like my younger big sister in the health world. I love being her neighbor and following in her footsteps. She is taking the lupus world by storm. And PS – I have two incredibly stylish pill folds for all of my meds and supplements thanks to her!
Sara Gorman was diagnosed with systemic lupus in January of 2001, when she was 26 years old. She struggled to put one foot in front of the other on most days but she was determined not to let a chronic illness dictate her plans for the future. A few years later, she invented a weekly pill organizer that was cool – something fun and stylish. Her solution, called the Pillfold, would serve as a constant reminder that she was still the same vibrant, hip chick she always had been, despite all of the pills in her life. She used bright, colorful fabrics and shiny, chic hardware to reflect her personality and outlook on life – something that her illness could never take from her. From now on, taking her pills wouldn’t be a drag; it would be a dose of style.
In 2009, she wrote and published a book detailing the steps she’d taken to start living well with her disease, Despite Lupus: How to Live Well with a Chronic Illness. She launched a blog by the same name at www.despitelupus.com. where she talked candidly about her journey with lupus. Within months, the book and blog had filled a void in the lupus marketplace. Sara was connecting with lupus patients from around the world, through speaking engagements, book signings, and conversations on her blog. Most importantly, she was able to maintain her health and wellness while continuing with her book and blog endeavors, which are still thriving today.
Fabienne Heymans and Pearl Thomas
This model and actress have souls that are even more beautiful than they are. I was beyond honored to work with them on the Healing Hashimoto’s Summit and hope to partner with them again soon. They really helped me to embrace my Hashi’s and come to a place of acceptance and empowerment.
Fabienne and Pearl were simultaneously raising awareness of Hashimoto’s individually, with their own support groups and Facebook pages. A mutual acquaintance connected these two lovely New York City ladies and the rest is history. Their combined energy was effervescent and both of their big dreams coincided with each other’s. They were both in remission from Hashimoto’s and passionate about sharing their journey with all who were still struggling with the disease. It was simply serendipitous! Fabienne and Pearl became teammates and dear friends. Together, they became unstoppable. They founded Hashimoto’s Awareness and organized the very first national conference for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the Healing Hashimoto’s Summit. Today, Hashimoto’s Awareness raises awareness of the auto-immune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, connecting people to proper testing for early diagnosis through education, advocacy and advancing research while inspiring people to live a symptom free life.
A champion for cancer? Yes, please! Not only can I call Barbara my warrior sister, but I also recently found out that her family had owned an orchard in my home town. It really does prove we are all connected in this universe!
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger for Let Life Happen. She has contributed her two time Breast Cancer journey, patient advocacy mission and Domestic Abuse experience to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide. Her high quality, high content and high energy writings are delivered in a down to earth and humble style that everyone remembers.While becoming an ambassador for Survivors and Patient’s Rights, Barbara has also shared her skills with the Walt Disney Company for over 18 years. As an extra curricular activity, she implemented an internal gratitude program that acknowledged fellow employees for their “going the extra mile” assistance to another fellow employee. Top level executives caught wind of her team building program and soon she was recognized within the company for her achievements.
Dr. Amy Myers MD
Dr. Myers changed my life. Literally. After five years of being sick, I read The Autoimmune Solution and followed The Myers Way ® and am much healthier today because of her. There are no words to describe my gratitude to this health hero.
Dr. Amy Myers is s a renowned leader in Functional Medicine and New York Times Bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. Dr. Myers has helped tens of thousands around the world recover from chronic illness through her dietary based program, The Myers Way ® . She was raised by enlightened parents who impressed upon her the power of community, nutrition and travel. Dr. Myers has become a passionate educator who believes that everyone has the ability to take charge of their health if given the right information. That’s why she offers access to extensive educational opportunities through her website, blog, podcasts, online eCourses, eBooks and her clinic. By giving everyone the knowledge to become his or her own health advocate, Dr. Myers is changing the face of functional medicine. Dr. Myers has been featured by Dr. Oz, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Women’s Health, Yahoo Health, Prevention Magazine, Everyday Health, The New York Post and more.
Dr. Heather Paulson, ND, FABNO, RYT
I am the luckiest girl in the world because I get to call one of the few board certified Naturopathic Oncologists in the United States my doctor. While cancer is far in my rearview mirror, I live with the aftermath on a daily basis. Not only does Dr. Paulson understand the life long battle of being a cancer survivor, but also the connection and complications of being both a cancer survivor and having Hashimoto’s. #youcompleteme
Dr. Paulson pursued her degree in Naturopathic Medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Scottsdale,Arizona. She also received additional training in Homeopathic Medicine from the School of Spiritual Homeopathy in Tucson, Arizona. After graduating from SCNM, Dr. Paulson completed a two-year residency focusing on Naturopathic Oncology at the Center for Cancer Care. This integrative medical facility is part of Goshen General Hospital in Goshen, Indiana. Dr. Paulson brings her expertise in natural medicine, general wellness, family planning, yoga therapy and oncology to you anywhere in the world via Skype, and locally at The Paulson Center for Integrative Healing and Southwest Naturopatic Medical Center.
Dr. Paulson uses treatments that are unique to each person that walks into her office. Dr. Paulson believes in “being the change you wish to see in the world” and the spirit of volunteerism. She enjoys participating in several local charities including The Melonhead Foundation and The Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona. Dr. Paulson was a former member of the Elkhart County Lead Council, Past President of the Indiana Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and an Americorps almunus. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Paulson also enjoys practicing yoga. Dr. Paulson also started teaching group yoga classes in 2002 while living in San Jose, California. She has enjoyed teaching yoga classes at Goshen General Hospital while living in Indiana. She has completed specialty yoga trainings for geriatrics, pre/post natal, chair, and kids yoga. Dr. Heather Paulson is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She continues to deepen her understanding of Yoga through continued readings of philosophical texts and teacher trainings.
Andy Puddicombe is the man who wakes me up every morning and puts me to sleep every night (and Hubby is ok with this!). Headspace is my newest addiction and rightfully so. It’s meditation for those who have no freakin clue how to meditate. When I fall asleep or veer off in my own thoughts, Andy does not judge. He gently brings me back to being present. It’s some of the best 10 minutes of my day, because it allows me to focus on me, with the promise to then be able to focus on those I love. Genius.
Andy Puddicombe is a meditation and mindfulness expert. An accomplished presenter and writer, Andy is the voice of all things Headspace, the meditation app enjoyed by over 5 million users worldwide. In his early twenties, midway through a university degree in Sports Science, Andy made the unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation instead. It was the beginning of a ten year journey which took him around the world, culminating with ordination as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India. Andy is the author of three books, now available in 25 countries and 10 languages. He has been featured widely in international press, appearing in Vogue, NYT, FT, Entrepreneur, Men’s Health and Esquire, to name but a few. He also makes regular appearances on TV and online, having been featured on BBC, Netflix and TED. Andy currently lives in Venice, California, with his wife Lucinda, and his son Harley.
Dr. Michelle Robin
With one of the sweetest spirits and a passion for healing, Dr. Robin inspires many with her podcasts. I had the honor of being interviewed by Dr. Robin. Her enthusiasm is contagious!
Dr. Robin is a chiropractor, author, teacher, holistic healer, podcast host, unshakable optimist, speaker and the founder of Your Wellness Connection. Every day she meets people who truly want to feel better. They want to enjoy their existence and not merely “make it through another day.” She believes that we all deserve to live a vibrant, happy and healthy life, and that we all have the power to create that life for ourselves. For twenty five years, she has helped people create small changes that ultimately shift their habits and their life through her practice, her blog, and her podcast with Small Changes…Big Shifts.
Dr. Marcia Sirota, MD
I had the honor of being interviewed for one of Dr. Sirota’s podcasts. She calls it “ruthless compassion.” I call it “pink fortitude.” But it’s the same language and message of love and kindness and healing and the power to overcome obstacles.
Ruthless compassion. Dr. Sirota is all about long-term results. She works with organizations that want to take charge and empower their people to improve positivity, personal responsibility, performance and leadership. She’s not about quick fix overnight solutions. Dr. Sirota helps transform individuals, employees, managers and executives into superstars by enabling them to overcome mental blocks and obstacles and helping them to bounce back from adversity. She has more than 25 years of experience in health and wellness, has published five books and hundreds of articles, and was named one of the Top 50 most influential bloggers and communicators in Canada.
Jeffrey M. Smith
Jeffrey Smith is David, fighting the big corporation Goliaths. For you. And me. Jeffrey was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award. His short acceptance speech carries extra inspiration for those of us who’ve been engaged in this issue. Please enjoy the whole speech on video.
Jeffrey Smith is the founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), a leading source of GMO health risk information for consumers, policy makers, and healthcare professionals. IRT’s educational programs are driving the tipping point of consumer rejection against GMOs, which is already starting to push genetically engineered ingredients out of the market in the US. Jeffrey’s meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation’s top food safety priority. Jeffrey’s feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette — The Gamble of Our Lives was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide). Mr. Smith resides in California and Iowa— surrounded by genetically modified soybeans and corn.
Dr. Eric Zielinski
There were five words that Dr. Z. said to me awhile ago that changed my life forever. It is because of those five words that I am in school to become a Naturopathic Doctor. Oh and PS – he is THE essential oil guru!
Founder of the Essential Oils Revolution summits that have reached more than 265,000 people across the globe, Dr. Eric Zielinski is a formally trained public health researcher and aromatherapist that has created the most extensive Biblical Health database on the Internet. His website DrEricZ.com is visited by hundreds of thousands of natural health-seekers every month, and he has rapidly become the go-to resource for essential oils education and spiritual inspiration through social media. Raised in Detroit on the standard American diet, Dr. Z (as he is commonly known) is far too familiar with what it’s like to overcome chronic health conditions and personal adversity. Plagued by addiction, depression, gut disorders, skin conditions, and utter hopelessness Dr. Z’s life was radically transformed in 2003 when he became a Christian. Immediately recognizing that healthy living was a spiritual act of worship, each of the conditions that haunted him from his youth started to fade away one-by-one. For the first time in his life, he found purpose for living and started to share his story and research with everyone around him.
For over a decade, Dr. Z has been formally trained as a natural health care provider, chiropractor and researcher with the intent to educate, inspire and challenge people to live their God-given potential. He was on the esteemed Research Track while earning his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Life University, and is working on his aromatherapy certificate with the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy. Dr. Z is currently on sabbatical from completing the Master of Public Health program at Emory University. For more than 15 years Dr. Z, has devoted his life to teaching the world Biblical health principles needed to experience the abundant life. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and children.
Who is #17?
Because with anything in life, you gotta laugh. His wears a flower on his head and his videos are hilarious. My personal favorite is “If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans.” Even Hubby loves his videos – Tao of the Man Bun speaks to him. And he’s a fellow ginger so you know he’s on #teampinkfortitude
JP is an emotional healing coach, international teacher, world traveler, and curious student of life. His work is intended to empower people to empower themselves to live more meaningful lives. He runs a very busy one-on-one client practice (most sessions are via skype) where he’s fortunate enough to work with people everyday on healing their hearts, resolving self-sabotage, and stepping into their true power. He also leads retreats around the world on different healing and personal empowerment themes for like minded and like hearted people to come together and learn, grow, and heal.
But what JP is most known for is his videos. Aside from the entertainment value of these humorous videos, they also carry important underlying messages. JP holds a certification as a Holistic Coach Advanced Practitioner through the Holistic Coaching Institute in Columbus, OH and has also served as a faculty member for the C.H.E.K. Institute from 2006-2013. Most importantly, he have red hair, blue eyes, a caring heart, and a warped sense of humor.
Be sure to PIN to your favorite board! And be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter so you can be the first to read about new and inspiring projects at Pink Fortitude!
Connect and Share
What about you? Who is your favorite health influencer?
Love, hugs, and wishing you health and wellness in 2017!HERE.